Negotiations continue between U.U.P., several key issues still to be addressed

The Oswego Chapter of United University Professions (U.U.P.) met to discuss a new contract on Monday. Budget cuts, tax increases and a decrease in raises given to faculty are just some of the concerns that were raised. Members voiced their concerns and raised issues that they want addressed or taken into consideration for the next contract. The current one will expire July 1, 2011.

"Nothing was accomplished, but it was successful in the sense that it gave people the opportunity to voice what they want to see in the new contract," said Steven E. Abraham, U.U.P. chapter president of Oswego State. "Until the negotiations committee sits down with administration, what will be in the new contract is still unsure."

Members can rest assured that health benefits, as well as dental, will still be covered even if a new contract is not reached.

U.U.P. represents all SUNY campuses. Members voiced their concern, such as the department cuts at SUNY Albany. During an economic recession, cuts are unfortunately inevitable.

"SUNY can’t promise to not cut a program," Abraham said. "If they want to cut a program, they’ll cut a program."

Others are worried about specific issues such as the Discretionary Salary Increase (D.S.I.) which is merit money given to the campus that the administration can distribute however they want, Abraham said. Faculty apply for D.S.I., but U.U.P does not support the program. Though U.U.P. would prefer to not have this D.S.I it is unlikely it will be cut.

"U.U.P. does not like D.S.I., we would rather have the money go across the board," Abraham said. "We would rather have a 2 percent salary increase across the board."

Some other issues that were raised during the meeting were tuition breaks. SUNY gives $750 to any U.U.P. member who has a child who attends a SUNY school. Members would like more money to put towards tuition.

Others raised concern about SmarThinking, the software used to replace the Writing Center. They want to protect members from losing work to technology.

Though many concerns were raised, it is not definite that the committee will be able to negotiate a new contract come spring.

"I think it would be better if we didn’t meet a new contract. Because if we do meet a new contract it is not going to be as beneficial," Abraham said. "Given the budget and given the economy I do not predict that the next contract will be as advantageous for us than what we currently have."